SEOUL, March 21 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s imports of coffee surged more than 24 percent to hit a new all-time high in 2021 on its growing popularity here, data showed Monday.
The value of the country’s coffee imports stood at US$916.5 million last year, up 24.2 percent from the previous year, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and industry sources.
It marks the first time that South Korea’s coffee imports have exceeded the 1 trillion-won ($823 million) level in terms of the local currency.
Last year’s amount was also up 12.7 times from 20 years earlier.
In terms of volume, South Korea’s coffee imports also reached a new high of 189,502 tons last year, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier.
South Korea’s coffee imports had been on a steady rise since 2013, excluding 2018, as more Koreans enjoy the drink.
Last year, Switzerland was the largest exporter of coffee products to South Korea with $130.1 million, followed by Colombia with $128.2 million, Brazil with $112.2 million and Ethiopia with $75.7 million.
By volume, Brazil was the largest exporter with 39,884 tons, trailed by Vietnam with 36,469 tons and Colombia with 30,040 tons.
With coffee consumption surging in South Korea, the number of coffee shops has been rising rapidly.
Coffee shops in the country numbered 83,363 as of end-December 2021, up 88.2 percent from four years earlier, according to separate data from the National Tax Service.